American Red Cross Company: Organizational Culture

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Culture in every organization helps in the description of attitudes, psychology, beliefs, values and experiences in any organization. Culture in an organization shows the “collection of norms and values shared by groups and people in a company and it controls how people interact in the company and with people outside the company” (O’Donovan, 2006, p.113). This article will explain the organizational culture of American Red Cross Company and its impacts on the company’s performance. The article will also look at the company’s background, its structure, organizational cultural drivers and also the organizational behavior theories.

Organizational structure

The American Red Cross organization was started in eighteen eighty-one and its origin was in Europe where it was formed in Geneva in eighteen sixty-four. The group was made a semi-governmental agency in nineteen zero five when it was reincorporated and some of the group governors were appointed by the United State president. By the year nineteen seventeen the Red Cross Company had already spread to two hundred and sixty-seven chapters in the United States (American Red Cross history). The CEO, the President and the Chairman of the Board are the top leadership of the American Red Cross. The president of the United State of America appoints the chairman of the board and his duties include overseeing the performance of the organization and heading the board members in governance. The CEO and the president are appointees of the board of governors, with assigned responsibilities of implementing the organization’s strategies.

The American Red Cross Company is a non-profit making organization that provides help to people affected by natural disasters and war. It was initially formed to help people wounded in the battle but it later evolved to one thousand three hundred volunteers who help victims of drought, flood, earthquake and fire (American Red Cross history). The organization’s strength lies in its ability to organize fundraising to collect money for various courses. They also distribute goods and funds donated by the government as well as those which they collect through their fundraising initiatives. The company has a peace mission like life-saving and teaching first aid and also running blood banks. Fifty percent of the market dealing with blood services is controlled by the America Red Cross Company and thus more of its revenue comes from selling blood products.

Organizational behavior theory application

Organizational behavior helps in “predicting, understanding, controlling and describing the behavior of human beings in a working environment” (O’Donovan, 2006, p.114). It tries to explain the functioning of the company, how workers relate with each other and work as groups, explains the dynamics of groups and how change is adopted in the organization. One of the theories in organizational behavior is the human resource theory which states that the “role of the manager is not basically to control the employees but rather it is to facilitate their performance” (O’Donovan, 2006, p.115). This theory is employed in the American Red Cross company where the human resource is involved in managing, planning and directing policies, procedures and practices in the human resource department to help in proper development of employees, compensation and performance management.

Human resources managers according to this theory should keep the needs of their workers in mind when dealing with them and thus the managers should use approaches of problem-solving and mutual goal setting to their employees. Managers in an organization should also provide the necessary training to the employees to ensure maximum performance. The training can take different formats. That is, it can “be conceptual, human, and technical” (O’Donovan, 2006, p.115). The theory also suggests that open communication lines should be used to ensure effectiveness of the organization because the employees prefer self-control and self-direction and will improve their performance when the managers consider their interests.

Managers in the American Red Cross company aimed at providing development opportunities at all levels and ensured that proper communication techniques and tools are used by the management in order to ensure effectiveness. The managers also ensure team building and diversity to ensure job satisfaction and increase employees’ productivity. The managers in American Red Cross relate with the Customer business unit and the headquarters to facilitate communication and also help in organizations’ increased effectiveness.

The American Red Cross also employs the classical theory which aims at motivating employees to produce more. The theory states that there’s a need for managers to have prior plans, say a day earlier, to increase performance and productivity of the organization in question. Tailor in the classical theory came up with two pay rates which were different where those workers who achieved output below the expected were given low rate of pay while those who produced more than the standard were awarded more money. The theory suggests that money motivated employees and thus these employees could control how much they produce (Papa, 2008, p. 219).

The managers in America Red Cross trained the volunteers as a way of motivating them and thus making them ready to help immediately when a disaster arises. These volunteers are trained in areas like damage assessment, feeding, community response and medical care among others. As a way of motivation, the employees in American Red Cross are also entitled to fifteen days leave which is paid, they also get vocational time, sick leave and overtime payments on top of their salaries to enhance them carry out their duties effectively.

Organizational culture

Formal statement

The American Red Cross has a mission statement that clearly elaborates the reasons for its formation and also the culture of the organization. The mission statement states that the organization is a humanitarian one that is led by volunteers and directed by the congressional charter. Its culture is to provide help to those affected by a disaster and also to assist people to prevent, prepare, help and be in a position to respond in case of a disaster( Cummings & Worley, 2005, p.107). This humanitarian mission helps the organization to connect with communities and people in the nation and all over the world. It also shows the commitment of the organization in ensuring that the people, services offered and programs show the diversity of the community and the people they serve.

The American Red Cross also has its fundamental principles which clearly reflect the culture of the organization.


The organization was formed to offer help to all without discrimination to those who got wounded in the battle nationally and internationally. Its objective is to ensure “human being respect and also to protect health and life” (O’Donovan, 2006, p.115).


The American Red Cross movement is independent and maintains its autonomy to help it carry its duties in line with the movement’s principles.


This movement remains neutral for it to enjoy confidence of everybody. Basically, it offers no support to any hostile group and avoids any association with groups or activities that are deemed to be based on race, political or religious ideologies.


The International Red Cross, with all its regional branches operates at the same level and has common perspective in terms of responsibilities and support to each other as prescribed in their goals and objectives.


According to this principle there should only be one Red Cross movement in any country and should be open to everybody. The movement should also provide its humanitarian activities to all its territory.


The American Red Cross does not discriminate based on “religion, nationality, beliefs, race, class or political” (Black, 2003, p.197). The focus of the organization is in assisting victims of catastrophes, individuals facing any kind of problem in terms of disaster and thus need emergency assistance.

Voluntary service

The organization works on the voluntary basis, with absolutely no intention of making profit.

Organizational structure and procedures

The organization has a technological culture that was adopted in 2001. During this period, American Red Cross “replaced the accounting system with Microsoft dynamics thus offering greater connection with the software of the donor management and also helped in showing the real financial status of the organization” (Black, 2003, p. 197). Improving the Microsoft dynamics as part of technological initiative helped the organization to reduce overhead costs and at the same time keep in line with its mission. This technological upgrade also included “deploying Microsoft dynamics as training management, volunteer management and marketing systems to help employ volunteers effectively in case of a disaster” (Black, 2003, p.197). Workers in accounting department can get easy access to information from many sources.

Marketing and promotional media

The American Red Cross raises its funds and creates awareness of its programs and services through marketing. Facebook is one of the marketing media used by American Red Cross. They have more than ninety-two thousand fans and thus each posting concerning the campaign creates a good interaction among the fans thus giving it more exposure. The organization is also using Flickr and youtube to advertise its campaign. Youtube is successful because it has more than forty thousand viewers who give their comments about the organization. Twitter is also used by the American Red Cross as media to tweet frequent updates and reminders concerning the campaign. The organizational Twitter account has more than one hundred fans helping to spread the word.

Stories, legends and myths

Most legends and myths about the American Red Cross and the services provided include:


There is a myth that the American Red Cross donation of blood procedures discriminates against the gay community. This is just a myth because the Red Cross is not a social issue but a public health issue and it is required by the law to follow the drug and food administration instructions and recommendations in the blood industry.


Safety is another myth where some people think that they can get disease after donating the blood. American Red Cross aims to provide safe supply of blood to those who need it and thus safety measures must be observed like health history screening, testing, self deferrals and after donation information.


The American Red Cross is deemed as unpatriotic which is a myth. The organization is required to be neutral. In order “to gain and maintain confidence of the people who need help, the organization should not take sides or engage in any controversies of religious, political and racial nature” (Black, 2003, p.197).

Cost recovery

The myth suggests that the organization should avoid imposing any cost on its patients for blood donated for free by the volunteer blood donators. Many processes take place to the donated blood before it is taken to the patients. The Red Cross “must do the collecting, testing, processing and transporting the blood to transfusion center and hospitals” (American Red Cross history, 2010). Another myth in cost recovery is that the Red Cross charges people for the services given in case of a disaster. The truth is that all assistant by the Red Cross is free like giving food, shelter and clothing among others.

Physical workspace

The American Red Cross was founded in the united state in eighteen eight one to help those who were injured during the war. Its location in United States has assisted victims of war disasters and other forms of catastrophe. It provides food and aids to other countries and also it is a leader in health, nursing and safety areas. It gives medical care and services of boosting morale to the armed forces of America. The American Red Cross also functions as an agency for collecting blood.


American Red Cross depends on volunteers who constitute about ninety-six percent of the total workforces in the organization. The organization works towards matching knowledge skills, experiences and interests of people with opportunities to serve the people. More than thirty thousand nine hundred volunteers act as chairs, board of director members and board of advisors for Red Cross units (Black, 2003, p.197).

The organization’s objective in recruiting is to ensure that workforce are excellent in their duties, should also show the ethic diversity and also reflect the organization’s principle of humanity, neutrality, universality and unity. The organization looks for people with good administrative, managerial and technical expertise from any humanitarian organization.


In conclusion, this article has explained the organizational structure of the American Red Cross looking at its background, its functions, management and organizations leadership. The article has also discussed the organizational behavior theory application in the American Red Cross organization where it explains the two theories used which are the classical and the human resource theory. The organizational culture of the company is also explained in this article under different headings. The company uses some formal statement like the mission statement which clearly shows its operation and also seven principles which guides its operations. Different myths and legends about the company are also discussed in this article and also the different marketing and promotional media used by the organization to create awareness of its campaign. Finally, the organizational process and procedures and recruitment in the organization are explained in this article under the organizational culture.

Reference List

  1. American Red Cross History (2010).
  2. Black, R. J. (2003). Organizational Culture: Creating the Influence Needed for Strategic Success. London UK. Sage Publishers.
  3. Cummings, G., & Worley, G. (2005). Organization Development and Change, 8th Ed. New York. Thomson South-Western.
  4. O’Donovan, G. (2006). The Corporate Culture Handbook: How to Plan, Implement and Measure a Successful Culture Change Programme. Chicago. The Liffey Press.
  5. Papa, M. J. (2008). Organizational Communication Perspectives and Trends(4th Ed.). Sage Publishers.

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